A Review of Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters by Daniel J. Fairbanks June 20, 2012

A Review of Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters by Daniel J. Fairbanks

On June 1st Gallup released a poll showing that 46% of American are Creationists. It also showed that only 15% of Americans believe humans evolved over millions of years and that God had nothing to do with it. The vast majority of Americans believe God was somehow involved in their being on this planet. The poll also showed a correlation between level of education and how strongly you believed in Creationism.

From our own experience, most of us realize it is all but impossible to convince the believers that they are wrong, despite the staggering evidence against their claim. We need to educate ourselves and our children. We’re small now but we can become the majority, right? Alas, according to the poll, the views on how we came to be have not changed much since 1982… which means the already-slow route could take a while.

Last month, Daniel J. Fairbanks‘ book about human evolution, Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters, was released. The last part of that title is what counts. Fairbanks explains human evolution in great detail, citing many sources, while still telling a riveting story. He also explains why it is important that we know where we came from, why it is important to understand that we, too, evolved, and how we were not just “poofed” into existence by a supernatural being.

Fairbanks refers to an earlier Gallup poll, conducted in 2010 which had similar results to the one that came out this year. He goes on to explain how the worldview of this large minority clinging to Creationism shapes American education and politics. There’s plenty of science in here as well. Fairbanks makes clear in the introduction that he will not try to debunk Creationism; rather, he shows through evidence we can see today that humans have evolved over millions of years and that God had very little to do with that.

The book is well writen and extremely thorough. It takes the reader through the many forms of evidence we have for our own evolution. Fairbanks starts with an explanation of what exactly evolution is, then goes on to show evidence from our bodies, evidence from the Earth, evidence from geology, and evidence from our genome. The final three chapters are reserved for what evolution means for our health, our food, and our environment. Even with all this detailed information, the book hardly ever gets boring or dry. The chapters on the human genome can be a bit befuddling, but the overall gist is never far from sight.

The language is easy and not too technical. And every once in a while there is a quite beautiful turn of phrase. One that stuck with me was this:

Use of the word overwhelming to describe the accumulated evidence of human evolution borders on understatement.

The sentence flows beautifully and has a powerful way of telling the reader the evidence for what you are about to read is abundant.

In the chapter on what evolution is, Fairbanks explains the word “theory.” He shouldn’t have to, but to many believers, the main argument against evolution is that it is “just a theory.” Fairbanks’ answer to this is as follows:

Scientifically, evolution is both a fact and a theory. It is a fact in the sense that many of its various components have been repeatedly observed and are so well documented that they can no longer be reasonably disputed. It is a theory in that the various facts, laws, and tested hypotheses bearing on evolution can be broadly explained as manifestations of the same overall process. The same can be said for other broad scientific theories. Substitute the words gravity or the atomic nature of matter for evolution in the preceding sentences of this paragraph, and the sentences become valid scientific expressions regarding these theories.

Fairbanks promised in the title not just to show the reader how we evolved, but also why it matters. He does this in the last three chapters, where he shows how our evolution has affected (and still affects) our health, our food and our environment. Not long ago, the blog Mental Floss gave its readers five signs that we are still evolving. They range from the fact that we drink milk even after we are weaned off of our mothers to the idea that blue eyes may have been a “sort of paternity test.”

Fairbanks, too, shows through examples that our evolution has not ended. He points out that diseases evolve to meet the challenge of our ever more powerful medicines, and that we are growing more resistant to diseases that would have killed us not too long ago. He explains how we helped and influenced the evolution of certain plants and animals to enhance our food supply. Through these enhancements it was possible for us to migrate to different lands and cultivate our food supply there. This, in turn, influenced the environment, which had its own influence on our evolution.

Evolution matters because it can show us how to shape our environment so that we may survive. This book matters because it can teach us how to better the world for those less fortunate. Ignoring evolution leads to ignoring ways of healing the sick and feeding the hungry. It leads to scientific setbacks and ignorance of the consequences of our actions.

We need this book and many more like it to further educate ourselves and our children. I reviewed another book on evolutionBANG!: How We Came To Be by Michael Rubino — for this blog and concluded that it was a great book to read with your young child when she asks where humans came from.

This book would be a great addition to your teenager’s curriculum. With so many Creationists in schools and the government, parents need to supplement their children’s education. Read this book because it is interesting and educational. Then read it with your child, so they, too, have a solid basis from which to venture into our world.

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  • hoverFrog

    The level of scientific ignorance in the USA to maintain a stupid belief like creationism is truly astounding.  It embarrasses me that 10% of people in the UK are Young Earth Creationists.  10% is far too high to be that ignorant about such an important part of our scientific understanding.  In the US though it is considerably worse.

    Is it the education system that is broken or something about the general culture?  Is religion really that powerful that it can overturn the reason of hundred of millions of people?

  • Oldaughd

    It is indeed the education system. I never learned about evolution until I was in college. I had an idea about it from.watching tv but the issue was never focused on in school. My parents don’t believe in evolution. Most of my family doesn’t. Religion is still deeply entrenched in the schools even if idea about god are not being directly taught.

    At this point in the 21st century we are still struggling to keep creationism out of the classroom and to make birth control available to women. Indeed, we need a new enlightenment to get out of the dark ages from which we are “backsliding”.

  • Killer

    If you’d like to read this on your Kindle, go to Amazon & click the link that says “I’d like to read this book in Kindle format.”

  • Marguerite

    Done. I am always irritated to see new books released only in paper format. Some of us really need that larger font!

  • Zeggman

    There is no doubt in my mind that human beings evolved from one-celled organisms over billions of years, that evolution should be taught in science classes, and that creationism should not be taught in science classes.

    At the same time, having read Shermer’s “Evolution and Why It Matters,” and the review of the new book here, I’m still not convinced that it does matter that 46% of Americans believe some kind of creationist nonsense. The agricultural modifications which Fairbanks describes were achieved by people who had no inkling of Darwin’s theories, and who probably believed some version of creationist nonsense themselves.

    The people who are pioneering new ways of healing the sick will obviously not come from the 46%, but so what? The 46% can still find a place in society driving trucks and buses, piloting planes, running factory machinery, selling cars and real estate, running cash registers, approving loans, building houses, roads, and bridges, etc. Their belief or non-belief in evolution will not impact their ability to do their jobs. Other than casting a vote for the local school board, it’s unlikely to affect their political choices.

    It may seem like I’m trolling here, but I’m not. I too would prefer that people were rational and didn’t believe in nonsense, but as someone who considers myself rational I have to concede that even though (according to this poll) 46% believe in creationism, the progress of western civilization hasn’t ground to a halt.

    I’m just happy that there are some religious people who do believe in evolution.

  • His discussion of “theory” is interesting, and similar to what I use with my students. I explain that evolution is not a theory, but an observation. Well supported observations are generally called facts. What scientists from the time of Darwin onwards have done is to take the observation of evolution, and construct theories to explain it. Darwin, for instance, developed the core theory of evolution by natural selection. Other scientists have developed other theories that explain different mechanisms- there is more than just one.

    There are simple scientific concepts, like gravity, where a single theory (General Relativity) explains a wide set of observations, and that’s all you need. Increasingly, however, we are exploring much more complex phenomena that cannot be explained by any one theory, but only by the interaction of many. Evolution is an example of this, as are the global climate, weather, the Big Bang cosmology. In these cases, we don’t observe simple phenomena but complex systems.

  • He_is_Risen

    Evolution is only a theory for good reasons.  First, you say to substitute words like gravity in there instead.  Well, last I checked gravity was scientifically called a law, not a theory.  There is a big difference.  I can look at gravity today in the present and see exactly what it is doing.  Every time I test gravity, I get the exact same results.  The minute I try to say that it was always doing that in the past though, I run into problems.  What if the mass of the earth was different at some point?  Nobody was there, so it is impossible to refute that claim. 
    Also, the main argument against evolution is not that it is “just a theory”.  There are many arguments, but don’t try to say that is the strongest, because there are many out there.  The strongest argument against evolution is the word of God. 
    You quote a part of the book here that says various components have been repeatedly observed.  Evolution from one species to another has never been observed!  I believe in micro-evolution.  That is to say that a species can adapt within its own species.  However there is no evidence to support say a worm turning into a lizard or something else.  You have a fossil record full of gaps.  The only fact you can present is that you found a fossil and where you found it and things like that.  The evolutionist did not observe how that fossil got there.  The evolutionist did not observe any change.  That applies to all of evolution.  It cannot be observed.  You cannot find a living being of any kind that produces something outside of its own species.
    Now, lets face the next obvious question, if it took millions of years, then we can use science to state it as a fact, right?  That is wrong for the following reason.  You cannot observe something in the past.  You don’t know what actually happened.  You can only guess based on what we have today.  The science has been interpreted different ways.  However the most important point in this case is that the evolutionist is coming from a position of faith.  The presuppositions of the evolutionist are driving the direction of their answers.  Evolution is more faith than a theory!

  • Bender

      I believe in micro-evolution.  That is to say that a species can adapt
    within its own species.  However there is no evidence to support say a
    worm turning into a lizard or something else.

    That’s as stupid as saying:
    I believe in inches. That is to say that you can move an inch in every direction. However there is no evidence to support say that if you keep moving an inch at a  time you will eventually travel miles.
    No offense, but you’re an ignorant about evolution. You’re the kind of people who needs that book.

  • Gus Snarp

    You are clearly wrong about the facts of evolution, and I will not attempt to correct you on them. Go to talkorigins.org, read the reviewed book, read Finding Darwin’s God, or to learn a bit about how we have excellent transitional forms in spite of the gaps that must exist in the fossil record, read Your Inner Fish.

    But there are two glaring problems with your thinking that I will address. First, this:

     The strongest argument against evolution is the word of God. 

    The word of which God? I’ll assume what you really mean is the Bible. This is a fallacy, a form of the appeal to authority. There is no reason to believe the Biblical account of creation is any more true than any of the accounts of creation of other world religions. Since only one could possibly be true, and none have any more evidence than any other, and all the real evidence points away from any of them, the best explanation is that the Biblical account, along with the creation stories of other religions, are all false.

    If you believe the Bible trumps facts and evidence, you should simply say so and stop arguing about the science. Fine, believe in creationism, but stop pretending it’s not completely at odds with the evidence. The only vaguely tenable position for you is that God made the world one way, but made it appear to have been made and to work in another way altogether and allow science to teach and work with what works while you go on believing that you know some deeper, but useless, reality. Have fun with that, but stop pretending it has anything to do with science. Otherwise you’re either ignorant or lying.

    Second is this notion that we can’t know what happened in the past. We absolutely can. For example, I know that you were once a puking baby, and before that you grew inside a woman’s uterus. You can claim that the laws of physics operated differently in the past, but every record we have indicates that they didn’t. More to the point, there’s no reason to imagine they did. It makes no sense for the laws of physics to have changed. We understand these processes and there’s no reason to assume they’ve changed, to do so makes as much sense as assuming that nothing we know about reality is real. This may be the case, but it is exceptionally unlikely and it has no bearing on what works in the real world.

    But you don’t even address physical laws, which is what would need to be different for evolution to be false, but actual physical details based on these laws. If the earth was a different size, as you propose, this would not change how gravity works, only the orbital dynamics based on gravity, and we have plenty of evidence that the Earth did change size, but it did so very, very long ago, and that within the span of the evolution of life there was very little change in its size.

  • Bender


    The only fact you can present is that you found a fossil and where you
    found it and things like that.  The evolutionist did not observe how
    that fossil got there.  The evolutionist did not observe any change.

    But the evolutionists observes changes in the pattern of the fossils. He finds different fossils in each geological strata, with the simplest in the older ones and the more complex and more similar to modern species in the newer ones. Exactly what you’d expect if evolution were true. I’d love to hear the creationist explanation for that. Why aren’t there vertebrate fossils from the Cambrian? Or mammals in the Cretacic?

  • Evolution is not a theory at all. It is an observation, a fact. Theories are things like “natural selection”, and are used to explain the observation of evolution. And those theories are fully testable, and are also tested against the observed evolution that is going on right now, both in the lab and in nature. FWIW, everything we observe is in the past. What’s impossible is
    observing something exactly in the present, or in the future. These
    things we can only predict, using our theories… and theories about
    evolution have successfully predicted future
    observations (which are now in the past, of course).

    Gravity is not a “law”. Gravity is also an observation, and is explained primarily by a single theory, General Relativity.

  • Occam


    Wow… talk about an evidence-based argument!  It was at this point in your post that you made it crystal clear there was no point in further considering anything else you have to say.  Whatever pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo contained here was completely undermined by that statement (not that your internet name didn’t give it away beforehand).

  • He_is_Risen

    Note that your anger at my beliefs indicates to me that your evidence is weak.  I say anger because people who feel threatened by somebody usually resort to name calling (i.e. stupid, ignorant).  If you feel evolution is right, then the evidence itself should be good enough to convince me.  Let the scientific argument do the work for you.  There is no reason you should assume I am ignorant on something.  Unless of course you are suggesting that everyone who disagrees with you is ignorant?! 
    To be fair, I will confirm what you already suspect/know.  I am what you would call a YEC.  I believe in literal bible translation etc… 
    As to your challenges…By geological strata, you are referring back to the geological column.  This can only be found in text books by the way.   The way that appeared, is that the radiometric dating was done to those rocks to place them in the same strata.  Radiometric dating is very flawed (another argument for another time).  You also believe that the layers got there one on top of the other and each layer took millions of years to do that.  I do not believe they got there one on top through millions of years for each layer.  They were all deposited during a world-wide flood, makes more sense from looking at the science through a biblical world view.  You are drawing complete picture of evolution from a fossil record which has huge gaps!  When you say that simplest ones are in older rock beds,  that does not prove evolution.  God told man to take care of the world we are in.  I love science and exploring the earth as much as the next scientist because God gave us that curiosity and charge to take care of this world.  I will believe something I find in science, just not an opinion that is given as an explanation about what they find that is based on an atheistic presupposition. 
    One last thing, your analogy about inches makes no sense to me.  Of course you can prove moving one inch at a time you can travel miles eventually.  I was bringing attention to the big difference between micro and macro evolution.  Every time I have hear of a monkey give birth to a baby at a zoo or in the wild, it always has a monkey baby…not a human baby.  No sign of macro evolution at all.  In fact just the opposite.  There is more evidence for degeneration over time!

  • Spherical Basterd

    I understand what you’re saying, however the 46% don’t all build bridges, run factory machinery, sell cars and so on. They run for office and set policy for the rest of us and these 46% vote for them. It then becomes an infinite feedback loop of stupid. Thus the progress of the average American is slowly grinding to a halt like a frog in a saucepan coming to a slow boil, the frog never notices the change.

  • He_is_Risen

    It does not surprise me that you would not read ideas that are differnt than your own.  And no, I am not trying to hide my beliefs, I just wish that evolutionists would not hide theirs!  Macro evolution is un-observable and therefore has a faith starting position when looking at science.  You cannot hide these presuppositions you take with you when looking at the data.

  • Spherical Basterd

    OooooHhhhh Boy, here we go again! I hope you aren’t running for your local school board.

    Folks, meet the 46%.

  • Ibis3

    You’re also ignoring opportunity cost. If everyone were on the same page and had the same basic understanding about what we know of reality (science, history, et al.) the progress we could make would be that much further ahead. These people are impeding our efforts to make things better.

  • Bender


    There is no reason you should assume I am ignorant on something.

    Yes there is, since unlike you I understand evolution and I see the wrong assumptions you make. So I’m not assuming, I know you’re ignorant.

    As to your challenges…By geological strata, you are referring back to the geological column.


    Radiometric dating is very flawed (another argument for another time). 


    You are drawing complete picture of evolution from a fossil record which has huge gaps!

    True. But I don’t need every single step of the process. For instance, I know this guy:
    is the same guy than this one:
    Even if I don’t have a picture of every day in his life between the two.

    When you say that simplest ones are in older rock beds,  that does not prove evolution.

    Yes it does. If evolution weren’t true, we should find exactly the same kind of fossils in each stratum.

    I was bringing attention to the big difference between micro and macro evolution.

    That would be time.

  • Occam


    Really?  Because you must know *so* much about me based on a fifty-word response to your flimsy diatribe on evolution.  Whereas I, on the other hand, think I have a pretty good idea of your world view based upon your statement “I believe in literal bible translation” (by which I presume you mean “interpretation”) in response to Bender’s post above.  I’m sorry, but I’ll take the empirical observations of 21st-century scientists over the fantastic stories of nomadic, dessert-dwelling, Bronze-age goat-herders any day. 

    I do not intend to respond to you any further on this thread — not because I’m averse to considering new ideas, but because I see no point in arguing with somebody whose belief system is rooted in ancient fairy tales. 

  • Gus Snarp

    Because we’re a democracy. And the 46% are electing representatives who agree with them and they’re making science and health policy that affects the whole nation. Set aside anything about the economy, about what people are going to do for a living, about what they’re going to use in their daily life, in a democracy you want the most educated citizenry you can get so they don’t drive the country into the ground. Given our level of technological development and the importance of biotechnology, we must do a better job of teaching young people about evolution.

    Also, young earth creationism is a completely nutty fringe belief. That 46% of Americans believe it suggests a complete failure to instill basic critical thinking skills. These people are vulnerable to all kinds of dangerously wrong ideas and cons, and probably believe a lot of other very nutty things, all of which will affect their interactions with us, and again, their votes.

  • He_is_Risen

    Thanks for the recommended reading.  I just wish you were not suggesting them because you believe I am either “ ignorant or lying” for simply disagreeing with you.  A couple other points, then onto your argument.  You are incorrect that the judeo-christian beliefs have no evidence.  I think you have a misconception that faith means there is no evidence.  If Jesus had not come and I was left with no Bible and no evidence that God existed and in fact he did not exist, I would not have faith.  My faith is based on evidence.  The evidence you happen to ignore.  My recommended reading for you is 1.  The Bible and 2.  C.S. Lewis complete theological/philosophical works.  That is a good start. 
    The bible is concerned with both truth and facts.  True science is not at odds with the Bible.  The only way you knew that every human was a baby is because you have observed it many times over your lifetime.  Please now give me one example you have observed in your lifetime that you have seen one species turn into another species. The point about the past is more about humanities past.  The idea that no human has ever observed the evolution from one species to another is disconcerting, no?  Evolution says this happened over millions/billions of years.  It takes a lot of faith to believe that! 
    I understand you point on physical laws.  However your conclusion based on your theology is wrong.  I don’t need physical laws to be suspended for this to be true.  I believe science gives more evidence for a young earth.  If the laws of nature are suspended, that is called a miracle.  Now the original event of creation is a miracle, but the science we now look at the earth with each day does not have natural law suspended. 

  • He_is_Risen

    Everything we observe is in the present, not the past.  Not sure where you are getting that from.  Also, please back up your claim that evolution has predicted the future.  Third, Einstein did not discover gravity.  It is generally accepted that Newton discovered it and it is part of “Newton’s three laws”  The theorly of general relativity deals with why the law works.  That is the reason that evolution is not a fact or a law, but a theory.  It is an explanation.  An explanation based on a godless presupposition.

  • Gus Snarp

    Anger alone is not a sign of a weak argument. Anger also comes from seeing willful ignorance and dishonesty of exactly the same form that we have seen again and again and again. One can really only read the same blatant lies so many times, knowing that they are based on willful ignorance, knowing from past experience that the individual stating them will ignore any and all evidence and argument before you start to get a little testy.

  • He_is_Risen

    “I know you’re ignorant.”

    One of the most prideful things I have ever heard.  That same pride is what blinds you from the truth.  I truely hope you are able to find what in your life has caused this anger inside you and you deal with it.  Until then, here is hoping that neither of our pride blinds us and you accept the invitation to kneel at the foot of the cross.  Because this conversation for you was never about evolution, it was about God. 

  • Spherical Basterd

    “Evolution says this happened over millions/billions of years.  It takes a lot of faith to believe that!”

    Faith that the earth and universe are older than 6000 years?

    “It’s turtles, turtles all the way down”

  • Bender

    If Jesus had not come and I was left with no Bible and no evidence that
    God existed and in fact he did not exist, I would not have faith.

    So since there is a bible, Jesus exists. By that logic so does Harry Potter, or Spiderman.

    Please now give me one example you have observed in your lifetime that you have seen one species turn into another species.


  • Our observation is limited by the time it takes the information to reach us, and the maximum speed it can do that is c. Consequently, everything we observe happened in the past- as little as a few nanoseconds or less, and as long as billions of years.

    Evolutionary theories are tested in the lab (and in nature) all the time. The way you test a theory is by using it to make a prediction, and then observing if what happens matches that prediction. Theories of evolution have successfully predicted all manner of variation in species as as response to environmental challenges. Theories have predicted particular structural changes that would be expected in species in the distant past, which were confirmed by later fossil finds. There are many other examples, which you could learn about by reading this book, or any other about the subject.

    I did not say Einstein discovered gravity. Neither is it accepted that Newton discovered it. People have known about gravity (an observation) for as long as we’ve been sentient. Newton was the first to develop a theory that could be used to explain the observed behavior of gravity. That theory was replaced by Einstein’s General Relativity, which is a more complete description of it.

    You reveal a deep lack of understanding about the basics of science when you make statements like “general relativity deals with why the law works”.

    The theories of evolution are no more “godless” than any other scientific theories. That is, if you are a theist, you can fully accept evolution, relativity, and other scientific ideas without contradiction. While an atheist probably sees these scientific theories as evidence that no god is required to explain the Universe, there’s no reason that a theist can’t see them as the mechanism their god put into place to operate the Universe. Religious discomfort with evolution in particular just points to an exceptional degree of irrationality spawned by a literal reading of a fundamentally flawed document.

  • Gus Snarp

    I’m not sure whether to be angry or to laugh at you. Do you really think we’ve not heard all this before? Do you not know that most atheists are more familiar with the Bible than most Christians? Do you think we haven’t read it? Honestly, C.S. Lewis’ apologetics are pathetic. The man had no understanding of basic logic. Wrote good fantasy books though.

    The core problem here is that you don’t seem to understand what evidence is. The Bible is not evidence. What on earth makes you think it is? That God says it is? Where does he say that? In the Bible. That’s not evidence. If I write a book and say that God says it’s true, that doesn’t make it true. The Bible was written by men, none of whom were there when any of the actual events depicted ostensibly took place. Those men claim that God inspired them and it’s all the word of God. Then those same men and some others who believed them went around telling people the Bible was the word of God. They got more people to say it and thousands of years later men are still saying it. But none of them are right. There’s no corroborating evidence that any of it comes from God. It contains glaring factual errors about recorded history and continually fails to accord with scientific knowledge about the world.

    I really couldn’t care less what you believe as an individual, but I wouldn’t mind getting you to acknowledge that your beliefs are in no way based in evidence, but in appeal to authority and tradition or in some personal revelation that is meaningless as evidence because we do not share it. Just stop abusing the words “evidence” and “science”.

    And yes, you are either lying or ignorant, because every argument you make about evolution has been proven false repeatedly.

  • Gus Snarp

    BTW, Newton’s three laws generally refers to the laws of motion. Gravity is not part of those laws.

    The difference between Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation and General Relativity is more than just that one describes gravity and one explains it, General Relativity is actually a different description of gravity with different equations and different results in certain circumstances. It is more precise and accurate and if you use Newton’s equations in some situations you will be flat out wrong.

    Try not to pontificate on things you don’t know about. Like anything having to do with science, apparently.

  • He_is_Risen

    It is not that I know a lot about you,it is that all I have to do is read your resonse to see how volatile your are toward God and the bible.  Under this logic, you would not believe scientific evidence from a creationist under any circumstances.  I am not afraid to put my thougths out there to be tested.  You obviously felt it important enough to comment on,but not important enough to defend. 
    The reason I said I believe in a litteral bible interpretation is so you would know where I stood.  I am not trying to fool anybody.  I believe everything I tell you. 

    Oh, by the way…that is fine, I will take Jesus and the testimony of the shepards and magi any day!

  • Gus Snarp

     Evolution says this happened over millions/billions of years.  It takes a lot of faith to believe that!

    Is that a direct quote from Ken Ham? Or is it Ray Comfort? Can’t recall, I think it’s Ham.

    Let me tell you something we know. We know that stars generate almost all the naturally occurring elements through fusion. We also know that the elements that aren’t created through fusion are created through radioactive decay of elements created through fusion. Every kind of matter other than hydrogen was created through stellar fusion and later decay. We know exactly how long it takes the fusion created elements to decay into other elements. We know that for the earth to have the constituent elements it does in the amounts it does would take about 4 and a half billion years of radioactive decay. We also know the speed of light, and that it is constant (in a vacuum). We know this through many instances of independent experimental verification. We know how wavelengths of light are distorted by moving at that speed and we know how far away the most distant thing we can see is, and that when we look at it we are seeing light that left it about 14 and a half billion years ago. We know that there have been billions of years for evolution as sure as we know anything. If we are wrong about this stuff, then Voyager 1 would not still be communicating with the earth. Nuclear reactors would not work. We would not be able to have put men on the moon and robots on Mars. These are the most well proven scientific facts there are, there’s no guessing here. And those billions of years are more than abundant time for the full diversity of life on earth to have evolved from the first simple, single celled organisms. If any of this is false, then we essentially know nothing about reality. Our every move and observation of the world around us is utterly false and we are living in an illusion.

    If your God is omnipotent, he could create that illusion, but if that’s the case then it is essentially meaningless. We could never verify the illusion, and everything we do will continue to work as long as we assume the illusion is real until God decides to end it. And again, if that’s what you believe, stop trying to pretend that there’s some evidence that we can observe for what you’re saying. There’s not, and the rest of us are busy living in the world that works and making it possible for you to sit here and deny basic scientific facts on the machine that our illusory knowledge of reality made possible.

  • Gus Snarp

    Some of us don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little pride. Only your Bible, with tradition, authority, and circular reasoning to support it, says that it’s wrong to feel good about yourself when you’ve worked to acquire real knowledge about the world and be able to apply it.

  • Zeggman

     Yes, some run for office and set policy. Unless the office is the local school board, I can’t imagine what policy difference would arise from a belief or lack of belief in evolution. Maybe I’m missing something. What harmful policies would a YEC support that an educated person would not? What helpful policies would a YEC oppose that an educated person would not?

  • Zeggman

     Can you provide an example of a specific effort to make something better which is being impeded by creationists?

    Progress is made by those who do understand reality, and seek solutions to problems which interest them. People who parrot myths may not contribute to that progress, but I don’t see how they’re impeding it any more than a box of rocks is impeding it.

  • Zeggman

     I agree on the lack of critical thinking skills, but I don’t think “doing a better job of teaching young people about evolution” will really help in that regard. Better to teach critical thinking, IMO.

    Steve Jobs was a pretty educated person, and I have no reason to doubt his critical thinking skills. Still, when confronted by cancer, he rejected surgery and elected to try all sorts of  “alternative” treatments instead, with the predictable outcome. As a completely nutty fringe belief, I’d argue that YEC is benign in comparison to whatever it was the Jobs believed. Teach critical thinking. Teach evolution too, but of the two I’d emphasize critical thinking.

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  • Michael Appleman

    Laws describe effects we see. The  ‘law of gravity’ will tell you how fast something will fall, or the orbits things take, but it does not tell you anything about what causes these things to happen since it is just a set of equations.
    “Evolution is more faith than a theory!”
    So are you implying that faith is…undesirable? If only you could grasp the implications of your own words 🙂

  • Gus Snarp

    Yeah, but critical thinking was only the second half of my comment. We can’t have people making decisions that will determine the future of things like stem cell research who do not understand the fundamental framework of biology. And since we are a democracy full of people who think God magicked everything into being 6,000 years ago, that’s exactly what we got, an ignoramus who put a ban on research that we could have been leading the way in.

  • Kaydenpat

    @He is Risen,@6bea7521dc108c3dc1e043222e6c27cf:disqus 

    But no one has witnessed God creating life either, right?  So your belief in God like mine is based on faith, no?  You cannot prove that God exists. 

  • Kaydenpat

    What about those who deny climate change?  Aren’t they impeding any progress towards stopping it?  What about those who oppose stem cell research?

  • He_is_Risen

    Exactly my point gus.  Some you you don’t have a problem with pride, which means some do.  You are now at a point of moral relativism.  So your point is that there are no objective moral values.  The only way this world view is genuine is if everything is permissible and there is no such thing as wrong. 
    You also don’t understand pride.  It is one thing to be proud of a child for doing well in school.  It is different to be a proud person that thinks they are better than everyone else.  It is not so much about feeling good about yourself, which is good by the bible…just not the main point, but it is more about not considering yourself better than others.  So you really need determine if you think that there is anything you can truly say is wrong.  Then you have to explain why  that is wrong for everyone and not just one person.

  • He_is_Risen

    It appears you have taken my quote out of context and used it to draw incorrect conclusions about my application of that point.  No worries, if I had taken that comment about faith in the context you did, I would have come to the wrong conclusion as well.  Nowhere did I say that faith in undesirable.  There are a couple of points.  First, my faith is based on evidence.  Second, faith is the starting point at which I view the world, in this case it is science, theory of evolution radiometric dating etc.  There is much evidence for my faith and I would concede that there is some evidence for your faith as well.  The reason I put it this way is that you want to talk about evolution which took place over millions of years.  Nobody has been there to observe the process of evolution.  Of course we find fossils that look like two other things we find and say eureka, we have a transitional fossil.  Also, evolutionists say we look at the geologic column and date it (incorrectly), and not even consistently incorrectly at that.  When we can look at Mt. St. Helens erupt in 1980 and come up with radiometric dating of millions of years, there is a problem (check out some of the work of the R.A.T.E. group).   Also check out some of the work of Andrew Snelling…yes, he has a degree (because I figured others reading this would want to know that).  This does not help out our evolutionist friend looking at a transitional fossil if his dating method is off, and he has no physical evidence other than direct observation to say that this is transitional.  That is not even based on good evidence.  You can’t even see the evolution that the evolutionist is claiming took place to verify the position.  Faith is needed!
    This also does not explain things such as living fossils.  How something could show up in the Cambrian period, then never show up again, but we can grow them in our back yard (Check out evidenceweb.net and John Mackay)   boggles the mind.  There should be a ton of evidence for that plant showing up at least in one other place on the “Geologic column” if evolution were true.  It should be extinct.  Ahhh, a fossil record full of gaps the evolutionist says.  So the evolutionist admittedly has a completely inadequate picture of the fossil record on which to base his assumptions about the fossils he finds.  Faith is needed!
    So to summarize, both of us have to come to the table not knowing the answers about life because we were not there.  Since we were not there, we have to rely on a process that we think will get us back to an answer that we cannot check.  From what I look at, there is more evidence for creationism than there is for evolutionism.  Hence, since we both start off with a faith position and evolution has less evidence than creationism,   you have more faith in evolution than even I need to believe in God. 
    P.S.  I think this thread could use some new life.  I am thinking about talking about Behe and irreducible complexity.  What do you think?

  • Great IAM

    Poor sap is to far gone for any one of use to help him. This kind of closed minded thinking is the reason this country is at the bottom of the list in developed nations in intelligence. The stubborness to information is the worst part. It out does the stupid in them. So put on your shepherd’s cloak and shield yourself from reason and logic. Oh, and keep fox news rolling.

  • He_is_Risen

    @kadenpat:disqus   “So your belief in God like mine is based on faith, no?” 
    Yes, you are exactly right.  We are both coming to the question of origins looking for answers, but we have a different starting point.  We both should examine the evidence.  I come into this with Christian presuppositions and you come in to looking at the evidence with atheistic presuppositions (I assume).  The starting point for both of us is faith.  We have to look at the evidence and decide for ourselves.  Many scientific articles have very solid logic.  In fact, the logic fits very well with what they have to say.  I really cannot argue the logic of the argument with an evolutionist.  However, when I come into searching for my own answers and I look at the arguments, I look at the methods and assumptions that are not stated or hidden from the reader that manipulate the evidence to say false things.  For instance, some of the things I have mentioned before are that assuming that elements are decaying at the same rate they always have is false.  There are many things that impact the rate of decay.  The person who’s work this is based upon is Charles Lyell.  His goal was to “remove Moses from science”.  This is because if you don’t believe Moses, you will not believe Jesus Christ…John chapter 5 from the bible.  Lyell knew what he was doing and his goal in science was to disprove the bible.  Then Darwin came along in another field and was mad at God.  So he as a scientist set out to disprove God as well.  When your starting point is to disprove the bible because you are mad at God, that does not exactly make for unbiased research!  Darwin took a relevant concept like micro-evolution (which I believe) and said that given enough time, you will get macro-evolution.  All he had evidence for was micro-evolution.  He had no evidence for macro-evolution.  Other non-believers in Christ latched onto this concept and ran with it to prove (with faulty assumptions mind you) that micro changes will turn into macro changes given enough time.  There is absolutely no evidence of this at all. 

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